Poor agreement found between self-report and a public registry on duration of sickness absence

J Clin Epidemiol. 2012 Feb;65(2):212-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2011.05.009. Epub 2011 Aug 17.


Objective: To investigate the agreement between self-report and a public registry regarding the occurrence and duration of sickness absence (SA) in patients with sciatica.

Study design and setting: Observational 2-year longitudinal study including 227 patients. Self-report SA data were obtained by postal questionnaires covering recall periods of 3, 6, and 12 months and compared with data from the Norwegian National Sickness Benefit Register.

Results: The percent agreement on the occurrence of SA between self-report and registry was above 85% for all three recall periods. The patients overestimated the duration of their SA by 2.4 (95% confidence interval, 1.1-3.7) weeks for the 3-month recall period. The 95% limits of agreement were generally wide, varying from -12.5 to 17.3 weeks for the 3-month recall period to -38.8 to 37.2 weeks for the 12-month period. For the 3-, 6-, and 12-month recall periods, 48.1%, 29.8%, and 27.3% of the patients reported an SA duration that differed by ≤1 week from that recorded in the registry.

Conclusion: Mainly because of low precision, the agreement on the duration of SA was poor for all three recall periods. The agreement between self-report and registry regarding the occurrence of SA was good.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sciatica
  • Self Report*
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires